In this story: COVID-19 /

Liz talks about dealing with a complex mix of issues and ‘lifesaving’ support provided by Community Links Practitioner, Margaretann.

“I’ve lived with a diagnosis of Lupus for years. It’s chipped away at my physical and mental health.

When Margaretann walked into my life it was a Godsend. She helped with my mental health problems, made me feel valued, that life was worth living. I became the person I wanted to be; able to stand up for myself. I regained confidence.

There were various issues; finances, DWP, housing. Family and relationship issues I found hard to deal with – such anxiety! But she was always there, helping me figure out what to do.

She introduced me to Promising Links Group, then HOPE Group, which she set up and facilitated. It was a lifesaver! Meeting other people who are now great friends was a bonus. I looked forward to it every week. We met outside the group for coffee and shopping. I didn’t only learn to smile again, I could hear myself laugh.

Margaretann went out of her way to help. I wouldn’t be here today otherwise. My GP practice has thrived since she came. They do things so differently now.

Now this pandemic! I feel I’m back in the days before we met, like all that hard work we put in is lost. I’m on a seesaw with my mental health. My moods are much worse. Some days I don’t want to talk to anyone, just stay in my bedroom. I’m having weird dreams, waking up with my heart going so fast with such frightening feelings.

I’ve been shielding. Coming out of lockdown I’m so scared of what life is going to be like. I constantly feel angry. At a ‘virus’, something that doesn’t care!

For now I have the telephone. Friends call, it’s always great to hear them. Margaretann calls too. It’s then I can talk about feelings, worries, despair. I always feel better afterwards. She gives great advice, but in a way to help me make my own choices.

Once she asked, “can you hear the birds now?”

Since I’ve stayed here I’ve never heard the birds, now that’s all I hear! It’s great! I hope people appreciate life and how we’ve helped each other through this!”

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